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Act Your Age

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Act Your Age

Published 1949

Jim, an emotionally immature teen, learns to evaluate his personality and to better work out his problems.

Run time 12:31
Producer Coronet Instructional Films
Sponsor N/A
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W


High school boy who has scratched his desk is lectured by principal on acting his age. Teen girls and boys turn into 5-year-olds, illustrating infantile reactions. The principal delivers a pep talk on growing up. A boy has a "How Old Am I?" chart. The school janitor / custodian lectures on immaturity.
Pictures Jim losing interest in his algebra and initialing the top of his desk. The principal, Mr. Edwards, talks with Jim about the adolescent's problem of growing up and meeting problems intelligently. While Jim repairs the desk, he thinks of situations which made his classmates weep, get angry and otherwise express their juvenile reactions. With Mr. Edwards' help, Jim works out a self-evaluation checklist to judge his personality, age and the manner in which he works out his problems.

Danger Lurks Safety


Reviewer: thebigfella - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 14, 2017
Subject: same actor?
The principle seems to be the same actor as the psychologist/narrator in Control Your Emotions, except dressed differently, with a painted on toupee and other make-up. But it's not just the stunning special effects, the guy's performance shows he's been gifted with an envious range of acting ability.
This film cracked me up.
Reviewer: Victor Von Psychotron - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 25, 2016
Subject: Fun music, fun "homework"
The music is great in this, and I have to wonder how many teachers assigned the chart Jim creates to determine his emotional maturity as homework?
Reviewer: ERD. - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 3, 2015
Subject: Good instructionaL film
Even though this is a film from 1949, it gives some good suggestions for youngsters to become more mature.
Reviewer: JayKay49 - favoritefavoritefavorite - September 25, 2014
Subject: Bodies of Adults, Minds of Children
Yes, it's a very common affliction (except for me of course, because I'm mature). And, btw, its lonely here at the top.

The rest of yas...grow up already! That little chart might help yous.

Moral of the story: If you get caught desecrating public property, suck up and suck up to the max. Our hero here, went into that principals office with his lips puckered, and he didn't even get a single wack on the ass, or even a raised voice. Not the usual situation in those days, for something like that...I can tell ya.

Is that janitor Mr Olson the same guy as the postal worker on Cheers? Sure looks like him. He also appears in the garage scene in "How Friendly Are You" also produced by Coronet.

B- Not my favorite film but it's OK.
Reviewer: giraffe-mon - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 19, 2012
Subject: MST3K Alumni Riffed On This!
One of Rifftrax's funniest short films, this can be obtained at
Former Mystery Science Theater 3000 writers & cast members Mike Nelson (host of MST3K), Bill Corbett (Crow) and Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo) are hilarious with their riffing of 'Act Your Age'.
Reviewer: uniQ - favoritefavoritefavorite - April 21, 2011
Subject: "I have a problem"
Great little film about (not) acting mature. The beginning is entirely wordless but is effectively "narrated" with dramatic music.

In the end, this being a Coronet film, everything turns out OK.
Reviewer: homsik4alaska - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 9, 2010
Subject: I don;t want to grow up!!!!
Fun film. I love the nostalgia these shorts stir up......not to mention the memories :)
Reviewer: Telephone Toughguy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 9, 2008
Subject: This says it all
Jim, an emotionally immature teen, learns to evaluate his personality and to better work out his problems.
Reviewer: torgman - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 9, 2008
Subject: This is being MSTied @ Rifftrax
silvertwinz: you wish has been granted. The writers of MST3K now have a website where they riff major movies. They riffed this short recently.
Reviewer: silvertwinz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 21, 2006
Subject: great fun!
i had a blast watching this. seeing the little kids acting up was hilarious. my girlfriends' husband acts like the baseball player does. and he's 34. this would have really sparkled with MSTK handling it.
Reviewer: radioman970 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 10, 2005
Subject: Relavant but also hilarious.
Wow! It's nice to see so many enjoying this old short. Although the ideas are timeless (haven't people gotten worse, children and adults alike?), I did find the guy with the thin mustashe as the principal hilarous! Creepy too. Add a spanish accent and this takes it in a while new direction. But as it is, not bad at all.
Reviewer: jafran - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 17, 2005
Subject: Nicely done
Good little film with some excellent suggestions.
Reviewer: Steve Nordby - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 16, 2004
Subject: the music
Other reviewers have covered it well, but I want to inject a review about the opening music: Edgy. Tense. Meant to stir up emotion and make the viewer feel as Jim does. It breaks just as the lead in Jim's pencil does. Then it re-starts. And builds. And become grandiose as Jim wrings his hands and goes to the principal... where the music suddenly injects a light and airy phrase.

The producer/director changes the principal's name knowing that was not important. In spite of the message of the film - applying logical thinking to emotions - it is not logic that ultimately drives humans, it is emotion, and music reaches that most directly. Tell the viewer to handle his/her emotions and manipulate those emotions in the most direct way. Outstanding propoganda.
Reviewer: dynayellow - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 25, 2003
Subject: At least he didn't kill the janitor.
Young Jim can't work a math problem, so he decides to carve up his desk. Sent to the Principal to discuss his problem, and possibly his gigantic, steel-reinforced head, Jim catches on to the idea that because of his raging glands, his mind isn't maturing at the same rate as his body.

Jim comes up with the idea of ranking his "emotional age" on a chart, then getting his family and friends to rate him. In the end, he runs off to get all his classmates to do the same. Jim is doomed.

The Principal is so cheerful you have to wonder if he's medicated. Watch just one of his cheery line readings, and you'll hear yourself adding, "Jim, do you like gladiator movies?"
Reviewer: !Q! - favoritefavoritefavorite - September 12, 2003
Subject: WARNING! Coronet alert!
Great film about not acting mature with dramatic music highlighting Jim hacking up a desk with his mechanical pencil when it runs out of lead in the middle of an impossible math problem, an overhappy principal who looks like Walt Diseny[sic] and changes his name every time someone says it (Edmonds, Evans, Edounds, etc., a fat janitor whose advice Jim ACTUALLY TAKES, people who turn into 5 year olds to act immature, and Jim (trying to) open a paint can with a pencil.

Speaking of which, why didn't he just use THAT pencil instead and finish the problem?

Great film, not too long.

How wany 'infantile re-actions' can YOU find? (Not counting this film)

Reviewer: PCino - favoritefavoritefavorite - May 29, 2003
Subject: Oh, that Jim
Hey listen, Jim was not in the wrong here. When I was taking my final accounting exam a few weeks ago, I broke the lead in my pencil! Looking in my book bag I found NO EXTRA PENCIL! Frustrated like Jim. I turned around and smacked the dork sitting behind me. What's worse... a carved up desk or a classmate with a broken jaw?? Just kidding folks ;) No this is a fun film. I've always like Coronet Films. They were big on camp, bad scripts and many times politically incorrect. *** stars for the baseball game tantrum.
Reviewer: Christine Hennig - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 14, 2003
Subject: Act Your Age
High school student Jim gets frustrated doing a math problem and expresses his feelings by carving his initials into his desk. The teacher sends him to the principal's office and the principal, after confiscating Jim's prized mechanical pencil, starts spouting off about teens in general and their "infantile reactions" to things. After even the school janitor complains about teens "acting like babies," Jim decides to take action on the problem by making a "How Old Am I?" chart and having his parents and friends rate him on his maturity in various areas. This earns his pencil back and totally solves the problem of immature behavior at his school. This is probably the quintessential Coronet film. It epitomizes Coronet's tendency to reduce complex psychological problems into simple, easy-to-follow rules that would make everything just ducky if only kids would follow them to the letter. Jim's solution to the complex problem of immature and out-of-proportion emotional reactions is so simplistic its laughable, yet the film is so earnest and innocent, you almost get convinced, until you return to the real world anyway. Particularly innocent is the principal's final question in the film: "Wouldn't you like to rate yourself on a chart like this?" What answer do you think most teens would give?
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: *****.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 17, 2002
Mind boggling expose of a, I think, deliquent teen (You know he's trouble when he ends his sentences with 'Eh?') who gets frustrated with school and starts etching out on his desk, soon he's visiting his principal and discussing 'infantile reactions'. Funny comparisons between 5 yr olds and teenagers are shown, and soon the teenager makes a chart and thinks HARD about how 'old he is today'. He finally admits to being 10 years old when he doesnt get what he wants (His dad ranks him LOWER HAHAHA) and tells his principal he'll try to start acting his age BY NEXT YEAR.
Interesting to note as well how school staff are quite willing to give kids weapons.
Reviewer: dzondzon - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 27, 2002
Subject: But I Can't Act
Highly entertaining. Heavy-handed with a dark element.
The acting is superb.
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